This chapter contains several different sections on teachings, laws, stories, lessons, and moral admonitions. It also recounts the Battle of Khandaq and makes reference to the Jewish tribe, the Banu al-Qurayzah. The tone of its verses indicate that it was revealed in Medina.

The first verse of the chapter enjoins the Prophet to godwariness in preparation for the prohibition: do not obey the faithless and the hypocrites.

Verses 9-27 deal with the Battle of Khandaq and the events that followed it with regards to the Banu al-Qurayzah. And it is related to the section before it because it mentions keeping one’s pledges and breaking them.

Verses 28-35 are about the wives of the Prophet. They first (a) command the Prophet to tell them that they are not to enjoy worldly adornments and instead must enjoy restraint and abstemiousness, if they choose to remain married to the Prophet. Then, they speak directly to the wives and tell them (b) their esteem and standing makes their position difficult. If they revere God, they will be gifted a double reward, but if they commit a flagrant indecency, they shall endure a double punishment. The verses then (c) enjoin them to be virtuous and to remain in their homes rather than parading themselves about, and to pray, give charity, and call to mind the verses and wisdom which is recited in their homes. Then the verses (d) promise all goodly man and women forgiveness and a great reward.

Toward the end of the chapter, the verses speak of the importance of the final hour and some of the punishment that shall befall the deniers. They command the faithful to speak rightly and promise them a goodly promise. Then the chapter finishes by mentioning the trust (amanah) that was offered to the heavens and the earth and mankind:

  • We offered the trust (amanah) to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, but they feared it and refused it. But mankind took it; he was unjust, foolish. (33:72)


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